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DeepMap Celebrates Four Year Anniversary (Apart but Together During the Pandemic)

DeepMap turns four years old in April. To celebrate this milestone, the DeepMap Spirit Team took on the challenge of throwing a birthday party in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and California’s shelter-in-place order, which has our Palo Alto team working from home.

We are happy to report that the challenge was met! We organized an online “show-and-tell” on Zoom for the entire company, from Palo Alto to Beijing to Guangzhou.

The celebration started with our co-founders, James Wu and Mark Wheeler, sharing a few words with the team.

DeepMap Co-Founders James Wu, CEO, and Mark Wheeler, CTO

Mark reminded us that the goal of DeepMap remains the same as when the company was founded in 2016: to solve the high-definition mapping challenge for the autonomous vehicle industry.

“We are working on the non-trivial, very hard problems that no one else has solved,” he said. Mark added that he is proud of recent technical accomplishments by the team, including:

  • Development of the Portable DeepMapper (PDM), our mobile mapping system, at one tenth the cost of a commercial mapping system, with survey-grade centimeter accuracy, both absolute and relative.
  • Successful delivery of DeepMap services to OEMs and Tier 1s for autonomous highway trucking.
  • Support for OpenDrive, an industry standard in simulation.
  • Integration with Baidu’s Apollo, the open-source driverless operating platform, and with ROS, the popular robotics framework.
  • A doubling of the number of patent filings in the past two years.

James described DeepMap’s first “office” in 2016, which was a room in his house — exactly where he was sitting during our event! “We are lucky and blessed,” he said. “Our employees and families are safe and healthy. We’re making great progress as a company, even under difficult conditions.”

After the comments from Mark and James, we started the employee show-and-tell, featuring short stories and performances that provided a window into people’s lives.

We were treated to a variety of backgrounds, from gardens and patios to living rooms and kitchens, with an assortment of friends, children, and pets. After each employee presented, they chose someone else to go next, selecting from the Zoom video gallery.

The interaction was fast-paced and we learned so many new things about our co-workers!

Richard on the acoustic bass ukulele

For example, Richard can play an acoustic bass ukulele. Chu is an amazing painter. Harshil creates 3D origami masterpieces.

Marcin built a roof over his patio. Drew is testing his new Yakitori grill. Ivona showed photos from her home country of Croatia.

Tammy played a new song on the guitar. Ming demonstrated his skills on the hulusi, a flute-like instrument. Fan explained why she loves dry shampoo!

After ninety minutes, the event drew to a close. Carter sent an email to the Spirit Team, saying: “Great bonding event. Probably we should do it more often.” Carter, we agree. We are already planning the next one. We miss seeing our co-workers during this unprecedented crisis. Virtual get-togethers are the next best thing.

PS: You can read DeepMap’s very first blog post here, published in May 2017.

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DeepMap, Inc.

DeepMap, Inc.

DeepMap is accelerating safe autonomy by providing the world’s best autonomous mapping and localization solutions.